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According to a recent article published in the British Journal of Cancer, birth outcomes among women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer prior to pregnancy were similar to those of the general population, regardless of treatment modalities.

Breast cancer is diagnosed in nearly 250,000 women annually in the U.S. Many premenopausal women who are diagnosed and treated for breast cancer may be concerned about the effects of treatment on subsequent pregnancies and child health.

Researchers from Denmark and Boston University recently conducted a study to evaluate birth outcomes among mothers who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The study included 216 newborns of women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer prior to pregnancy and 37 newborns of women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy. The results were compared to over 33,440 women of the general population who had not been affected by breast cancer.

  • There was no increased risk of complications in birth outcomes for the 216 newborns of women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer prior to pregnancy compared to women who had not been diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • The type of treatment received by women was not associated with increased risks.
  • Preterm birth rates were significantly higher among women who were diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy compared to women in the general population; however, the vast majority of the preterm deliveries were elective.
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The researchers concluded that women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer prior to having children should be reassured that, when compared to the general population, no link was found between increased risk of birth complications and breast cancer. However, it is important for breast cancer survivors to discuss their individual cases with their physicians.

Reference: Langagergaard V, Gislum M, Skriver M, et al. Birth Outcome in Women With Breast Cancer. British Journal of Cancer. 2006; 94; 142-146.

Related News:Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer Safe for Pregnant Women During Second and Third Trimesters (6/27/05)

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